Ricochet News

It's not over! Nqaba Bhanga promises Lutho Sokudela returning as a Councillor

By Afikile Lugunya - Sep 28, 2018
It's not over! Nqaba Bhanga promises Lutho Sokudela returning as a Councillor

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday said that it is not resting until Lutho Sokudela returns to occupy the seat currently occupied by one of its rogue Councillors in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Addressing journalists on the suspension of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Municipal Manager, Johann Mettler, DA Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga, said that the party will devote its energies on ensuring that rogue Councillor, Mbulelo Victor Manyathi, no longer occupies a DA seat at Council.

The DA insists Manyathi is no longer a DA Councillor in the Metro despite a Port Elizabeth High Court ruling that he is until such a time that he decides to resign or when the party has concluded internal disciplinary processes against him.

To the DA’s embarrassment, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Wednesday also announced that it recognises Manyathi as the lawful DA Councillor and not his replacement, Lutho Sokudela, whom the DA sworn in at the beginning of September.

The IEC had early on declared Manyathi’s seat vacant after the DA had summarily terminated his membership after the events of 27 August, in which he aided inthe removal of then Speaker, Jonathan Lawack, which paved the way for the removal of Athol Trollip as Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mayor and the entire DA-led coalition government.

Chaos in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Chambers

At Tuesday’s special Council Meeting, chaos broke in the Council Chambers after the DA brought in Sokudela, which effectively meant there were 121 Councillors in a 120-seat Council since Manyathi was also present.

Manyathi, however, sat within the African National Congress (ANC) benches despite being a DA Councillor.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Speaker, Buyelwa Mafaya, then asked security to remove Sokudela from the Chamber as he was not a recognised Councillor at which the DA Councillors formed a wall to protect him - resulting in the Council chaos.

Obscenities were thrown around as DA Councillors and security were involved in a tussle to the amazement of those sitting in the public gallery.

Bhanga says Lutho had to remain in the Council Chambers

"On Tuesday, when we said Councillor Manyathi was not a Councillor we were correct. In the IEC’s communication, his name was not gazetted as per the act of the IEC, but Lutho's name was, which meant that Manyathi was sitting with Councillors illegally,” Bhang described.

"The name that was sworn in was of Councillor Lutho Sokudela. On Wednesday, the IEC made the change to the gazette by putting back Manyathi's name back.”

Sodukela was absent at the continuation of the Council Meeting on Thursday.

"We respect the law and the Constitution and everybody else should respect the law and the Constitution," Bhanga added.

He, however, said that the DA will not be forced to accept Manyathi.

Lutho Sokudela is coming back

"Lutho is coming back as a Councillor - I can promise you that because I'm very assured. We concluded this issue on the 4th of September and we are working with the National IEC stakeholders [to solve the matter]," Bhanga said.

Sokudela was sworn in as the replacement of Manyathi on the 4th of September and the party celebrated him as the youngest Councillor in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council at 23 years old.

That was despite a pending judgement after Manyathi challenged his dismissal at the Port Elizabeth High Court.

The PE High Court then ruled in favour of Manyathi and he remained as a DA Councillor.

Manyathi remaining a DA Councillor means the DA is not assured of numbers if ever it wants to move or contest motions in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council.

"If we need to start our party afresh we will and Mr Manyathi will cease to be a member of the DA because that's what the Constitution of the DA says - whether we change it, but we have closed the chapter of Mr Manyathi as a DA member," Bhanga concluded.

Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook.